June 18, 2019 / 5:09 PM / 4 months ago

Ireland to bring in laws to make bankers accountable

FILE PHOTO: Commuters make their way into work in the morning in the financial district of Dublin, Ireland October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland will introduce laws from next year to make senior bankers directly accountable for failings at institutions, including fines and regulatory findings against individuals, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said on Tuesday.

A decade ago Ireland faced the costliest bank bailout in the euro zone after the bursting of a credit-fuelled property bubble and more recently began punishing lenders for overcharging tens of thousands of mortgage customers.

The new laws will include a Senior Managers Regime (SMR) that was introduced for top bankers in Britain three years ago after taxpayer bailouts and market rigging scandals saw banks fined but few individuals punished.

Similar to Britain, key staff and firms will be obliged under the Irish SMR to spell out where decision-making and responsibility lie, making executives directly accountable to regulators for any misconduct that occurs on their patch.

Conduct standards for individuals and firms will also be introduced and the Irish Central Bank’s Fitness and Probity Regime, brought in after the banking crisis to vet senior executives, will also be enhanced.

Donohoe said the 1 million euro maximum fine that the central bank can levy on an individual will remain in place.

“Because they (banks) are such an important part of our economy, the behaviour of individuals within it can have such a powerful effect on other citizens,” Donohoe told reporters.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alexander Smith

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